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A matter of gravity

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2:13pm, November 1, 2005

"Einstein's theory triumphs!" So proclaimed the New York Times on Nov. 10, 1919, making Albert Einstein a celebrity. The headline referred to a stunning confirmation of one of relativity theory's most audacious claims: that starlight is bent by the sun's gravity. Einstein's general theory of relativity, which depicts gravity as the curvature of space-time, had passed its first test.

Now, thanks to a data trove collected by a satellite called Gravity Probe B, scientists are poised to test Einstein's theory more rigorously than ever before. Launched in 2004, the NASA probe features four gyroscopes sensitive enough to precisely measure two extraordinary effects predicted by general relativity (SN: 9/25/04, p. 206: Available to su

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